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Full text of "Pathogenic Bacteria"

CHAPTER   III.

HYDROPHOBIA,  OR RABIES.

No micro-organism of hydrophobia has as yet been
discovered, yet the peculiarities of the disease are such
as to leave no doubt in the mind of a bacteriologist that
one must exist. To find it is now the desideratum.

Although many men have labored upon hydrophobia,
no name is so well known or so justly honored as that
of the great pioneer in bacteriology, Pasteur.   The profes-
sion and laity are alike familiar with his name and work,
and although at times the newspapers of our  country
and certain members of the profession have opposed the
.methods of treatment which he has suggested as the re-
.'Sult of his experimentation, we cannot but feel that this
skepticism  and opposition are due either  to ignorance
Ťof the principles upon which Pasteur reasoned or to a
culpable  conservatism.    The  most vehement opponent
that  Pasteur has  in America  seems to disbelieve the
existence of rabies.    It is impossible to argue with him.
Hydrophobia, or rabies, is a specific toxemia to which
dogs, wolves, skunks, and cats are highly susceptible,
and which can, through their saliva, be communicated
to men, horses, cows, and other animals.    The means
of communication is almost invariably a bite, hence the
inference  that the specific  organism is present in the
saliva.

The animals that are infected manifest no symptoms
during a varying incubation-period in which the wound
generally heals kindly. This period may last for as long
a time as twelve months, but in rare cases may be only
some days. An average duration of the period of incu-
bation might be stated as about six weeks.

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